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Independent Bookstores in Washington, DC

NewPages.com guide to the best Washington, DC indie bookstores

Independent bookstores in Washington, DC are sorted by City as you scroll through. If your favorite indie bookstore is missing, please contact us.

AIA Bookstore
  • AIA Bookstore
  • 1735 New York Ave. NW
  • City: Washington DC
  • Phone: (202) 626-7475
  • Type: New books
  • Specialty: LGBT
  • Sidelines: Gifts, Toys/Games
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Led by the American Institute of Architects, the AIA Store offers an architect-first collection of books, accessories, stationary, design items, toys, and more. [Store photo by Nancy Bratton]

We are a culinary bookshop located in Washington DC’s Mt. Pleasant neighborhood.

Bridge Street Books has been independently owned and operated since 1980. We sell new books and specialize in the Humanities, though we carry books on all subjects.

Busboys and Poets

Busboys and Poets is a community where racial and cultural connections are consciously uplifted…a place to take a deliberate pause and feed your mind, body and soul…a space for art, culture and politics to intentionally collide…we believe that by creating such a space we can inspire social change and begin to transform our community and the world.

Busboys and Poets is a community gathering place. First established in 2005, Busboys and Poets was created by owner Andy Shallal, an Iraqi-American artist, activist and restaurateur. After opening the flagship location at 14th and V Streets, NW, the neighboring residents and the progressive community embraced Busboys, especially activists opposed to the Iraq War. Busboys and Poets now has six different locations in the Washington Metropolitan area and is a community resource for artists, activists, writers, thinkers, and dreamers.

Busboys and Poets is a community where racial and cultural connections are consciously uplifted; a place to take a deliberate pause and feed your mind, body, and soul; a space for art, culture and politics to intentionally collide. We believe that by creating such a space we can inspire social change and begin to transform our community and the world.

We have fiction books in the fiction room (hard cover & paperbacks), mystery books in the Mystery Room, foreign language books in the bathroom, cookbooks in the kitchen on the kitchen sink, business books with the lawyers in the Business Closet, cultural biographies in the Cultural Closet, and a Weird Section for those who like witches, dreams, and things that go bump in the night. We also have books on history, philosophy, travel, Washington DC, theology, psychology, politics (of course), games, art and more.

  • Child's Play
  • 5536 Connecticut Ave NW
  • City: Washington DC
  • Phone: (202) 244-3602
  • Type: New books
  • Specialty: Children's
  • Sidelines: Toys/Games
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For more than 30 years, Child’s Play has sold thoughtful toys and books, specially curated to develop children’s sense of wonder and play. Because play is the most important part of childhood.

East City Bookshop is an independent bookstore on Capitol Hill in Southeast Washington, DC at Eastern Market Metro.

  • Kramers
  • 1517 Connecticut Ave. NW
  • City: Washington DC
  • Phone: (202) 387-1400
  • Type: New books
  • Specialty: General Interest
  • Sidelines: Magazines/Newspapers
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Kramers is a DC institution located in the heart of Dupont Circle. The carefully curated bookstore is adjoined by a cozy bar & glass-enclosed restaurant/cafe in the back. Join us for regular author events and storytimes.

An excellent source of used and rare books since 1977.The Lantern’s mission continues to be the funding of education for bright young women. Our inventory consists entirely of donated materials.

Little District Books is a queer-owned Washington, DC based independent book store that celebrates LGBTQ+ authors and stories.

Lost City Books is an independent bookstore offering used, new, and rare books to the Adams Morgan and greater D.C. community.

An Indie bookstore in D.C. specializing in diverse books for all ages.

  • MahoganyBooks
  • 1231 Good Hope Rd., SE
  • City: Washington DC
  • Phone: (202) 844-2062
  • Type: New books, Black-owned
  • Specialty: African American
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MahoganyBooks is an award winning, New York Times reporting bookstore that sells books written for, by, or about people of the African Diaspora

Politics and Prose comes to D.C.’s premier waterfront destination. Located in The Wharf’s District Square and surrounded by a great assortment of retail, restaurant, and cultural offerings, our new location brings a steady lineup of author events.

Politics and Prose

Politics & Prose Bookstore is Washington, D.C.’s premier independent bookstore and cultural hub, a gathering place for people interested in reading and discussing books. Politics & Prose offers superior service, unique book choices, regular events, and a haven for book lovers in store and online.

  • The Potter's House
  • 1658 Columbia Rd NW
  • City: Washington DC
  • Phone: (202) 232-5483
  • Type: New books
  • Specialty: Children's, Feminist, LGBT
  • Sidelines: Artwork, Café/Food, Coffee/Tea, Gifts, Greeting Cards/Postcards, Magazines/Newspapers
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The Potter’s House is a deeply rooted space where we can build relationships across our differences, envision just alternatives, and grow the movements that will make them possible.

Small independent bookstore in DC that specializes in scientific and professional books for everyone.

In addition to our cafe, we offer classic books from the pillars of black culture and history, as well as new releases in culture, history, sociology, biography, and fiction. We stock the largest collection of children’s black literature in the DC area.

Second Story Books sells used, unique, rare & antiquarian books, art, antiques, posters, CDs, DVDs, old maps & graphics. From 50-cent paperbacks to collectible first editions of literary classics, we have something for everyone. 

Solid State Books

Solid State Books is DC’s newest independent bookstore and cafe, currently in a pop-up shop next to our permanent home on H Street NE. We carry a diverse selection of books and gifts for adults and children, host dynamic programs and events, and will serve a selection of fine beer, wine, coffee, pastries, and snacks in our cafe. Solid State Books is a place for sharing ideas, discussing books, and meeting authors—a place where people go to make new discoveries and connections. We love collaborating with local businesses and organizations, and are so excited to be the H Street Corridor’s neighborhood bookstore.